A look at the Blue Jays second-tier infield depth


The Toronto Blue Jays have focused on depth acquisition entering 2016, and the following infielders could be the next men up if injury strikes the MLB club

Much of the recent buzz regarding the Blue Jays infield has hovered around the Devon Travis and Ryan Goins situation at second base, or how Troy Tulowitzki will produce in his first full season with the Jays. But with Spring Training right around the corner, it’s time to start talking about the men behind those top three. If Tulo is injured or Travis hits a road bump in his recovery, who will step in?

So in this article I will be showcasing the depth that the Toronto Blue Jays have in the infield (mostly the middle infield). Some may be options for a bench role, and some may be the first man up should an injury arise. But all in all, depth never hurts, and this is what the Jays have up the middle.

Darwin Barney

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Following a late season trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Blue Jays used Darwin Barney as a bench piece who was capable of filling in at multiple spots around the diamond, and that could be exactly the spot he will be fighting for in Spring Training.

Just as he has throughout his career, Barney will not be looked to for much offence. While he will always provide stellar highlight reel worthy glove work, don’t expect him to light up the scoreboard.

Barney’s best bet will be to play his way into a bench role, which will provide a bit more playing time to start the season as Devon Travis is working his way back from injury (he is expected back in May).

Maicer Izturis

Since an early season freak injury on the dugout stairs in 2014, Maicer Izturis missed the remainder of that season as well as the 2015 season. Now that he has been brought back aboard with the Blue Jays, he will be looking to put himself back into the middle infield picture.

While he has been no offensive dynamo over his career he does have a couple decent seasons to his name with an OPS+ of 102, 105 and 109 in 2006, 2009 and 2011 respectively.

With a Major League career slash line of .269/.331/.372, and experience in the field at third base, second base, and shortstop, Izturis could very well work his way into the picture.

I wouldn’t bet against him making the Opening Day roster.

Matt Dominguez

Once considered a top prospect and a future cornerstone of the Houston Astros revival (before Carlos Correa was blowing everybody’s minds), Matt Dominguez has since come crashing down to earth. And what a fall its been.

After a 31 game trial run with the Astros in 2012, Dominguez went on to have quite a successful first full season in the Majors in ’13. With 21 home runs and 77 runs batted in, it looked like Dominguez might just achieve what was hoped of him as a highly ranked prospect.

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But even with those seemingly great offensive totals in ’13, Dominguez still only posted an OPS+ of 89 (which is below the league average by 11 percent). Due to his low batting average (which can often be excused with players with power), and extremely low OBP (.286), even his high homer totals could save his career.

Dominguez would go on to post another even more uninspiring season in 2014 (16 HR’s and an OPS+ of 65), and has been mired in the minors since.

While Dominguez doesn’t play the middle infield, and therefore wouldn’t be a fit to be a flexible backup, he could be enticing for a pinch-hitting power role with the occasional start at third base or first.

Andy Burns

The next two players on my list are longer shots than those previously mentioned, but they still are part of the picture when it comes to injury insurance and overall depth.

Andy Burns has always been seen as a quality prospect with a future in the Majors. Unlike Dominguez, though, he hasn’t seen any time on a Major League roster. Since being drafted in 2011, Burns’s career hasn’t gone entirely as expected.

While he hasn’t yet reached the fullest heights of his potential, he has quietly accumulated a career minor league slash line of .272/.337/.428. And that respectable bat, along with his ability to play every position around the diamond, might just help him see his Major League debut in 2016.

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Jon Berti

If Andy Burns is a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster, then Jon Berti is so far out you can’t even see him.

With a lesser bat to this point in his career (minor league slash line of .258/.341/.343) and less defensive flexibility, Berti definitely lays below Burns on the depth chart. As a player that lives up to his Twitter handle of ‘Jonny Hustle’, though, he’s got the makings of a prospect that could surprise.

But as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plan during the course of a long gruelling 162 game season. So if the injury bug rears her head more than our wildest nightmares can imagine, it is possible Berti may be needed to fill in.


In all likelihood not all of these players will see time with the Blue Jays in the 2016 season.

But with Travis on the shelf to start the year, and Tulo a risk for injury, I wouldn’t put it past a few of these guys to sneak themselves into the picture at some point during the season.

And heck, one or two of them might even surprise us by snagging a spot on Opening Day (Izturis or Barney would be my best bet).